Hunting in California

Duck hunting in California topics include: California duck hunting trips, the past hunting seasons, and share information about California duck hunting guides.

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Hunting in California

Postby huntfishnv » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:58 pm

Why does it supposedly suck so bad (no personal experience hunting here), from DU migration map, to this forum, to friends who live in the state all I here is how crappy it is. I've seen the migration go through the past few years up here near Canada. When I first started duck hunting 6 years ago California seemed like the place to be for waterfowl hunting, I just don't understand how they aren't making it down to you guys and if they are why can't you kill them?
Last edited by huntfishnv on Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby svwaterfowl » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:16 pm

Well huntfishnv I lived in Reno for 7 years going to school and just moved back to Cali where I grew up. I hunted Fallon extremely hard for 3 seasons. California used to be a lot different even 5-10 years ago. Fallon usually hunts great from opener to te end of November and then it freezes normally the 1st week of December. I have only hunted rice int the last 2 seasons here and I can tell you that it is strange. The norms have gone away for the most part....i.e. Strong wind storms days don't produce limits like they used to. You think the ducks are here drive around the valley. Yes there are thousands sitting in very small areas but in terms of ducks flying during the day it is dismal at best in blinds that have produced huge numbers for 25 years before.
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby wanapasaki » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:24 pm

California has great waterfowling opportunities. You go where the crowds go but the ducks don't.
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby huntfishnv » Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:07 pm

svwaterfowl wrote:Well huntfishnv I lived in Reno for 7 years going to school and just moved back to Cali where I grew up. I hunted Fallon extremely hard for 3 seasons. California used to be a lot different even 5-10 years ago. Fallon usually hunts great from opener to te end of November and then it freezes normally the 1st week of December. I have only hunted rice int the last 2 seasons here and I can tell you that it is strange. The norms have gone away for the most part....i.e. Strong wind storms days don't produce limits like they used to. You think the ducks are here drive around the valley. Yes there are thousands sitting in very small areas but in terms of ducks flying during the day it is dismal at best in blinds that have produced huge numbers for 25 years before.


I moved from Reno up here to Montana two years ago. Learned how to hunt in Fallon and Washoe, probably will be moving back next year for college. Are you just not seeing the birds except for small bunches of 1000 or to much pressure on public lands? Will be tough for NV and California next year with lack of snowpack. I just want to know what the causes of this problem are.

Someone has to know, whats changed in a couple decades?
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby ducks~n~bucks » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:56 am

Yep. No ducks in CA. Stay away. And to the local guys who also know there are no ducks here, y'all should just move to a state with good duck hunting.
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby yellowdog53 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:42 am

The internet hunter using the DU waterfowl migration map.. Gotta love it.... Why does the hunting seem to be so bad this year well lets see... No weather after the first three or four opening days nad the local birds all got killed..... NO rain the past year or so for local hatches to improve.... Sunny and 75 like Joe Nichols sings has a lot to do with it and anyone who knows anything about hunting should know why it sucks....
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby 3200 man » Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:19 am

To much pressure above the border , killing young birds before they get here , that's is Why !

Plus , with NO water how can we attract ducks....... :crying: :crying: :crying:

Right , Fred ??? :lol3:
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby yellowdog53 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:34 am

Not sure about pressure up north think thats a very very small part of it.. Simply put it has to do with weather and the lack of it in many places and throw in the water situation poor local hatches over the past few years and we are where were at right now...

Just like so many other things in CA the limits might be too high and there will be no pre planning just knee jerk decisions just like instead of planning for a drought as it is obvious that the lakes are very very low and the water supply is dwindling fast still there is no plan to start rationing water etc now they will wait and wait until it is too late..

Same kinda thing with the waterfowl situation...
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby hntndux » Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:57 am

Those that think there low numbers of ducks, I challenge you to sit in your crappy rice blind for 45 minutes after shoot and watch the show... Last Saturday during the small storm I took a 30 mile loop through rice country at about 10am after shooting 1 duck in our blind. We saw bids sitting almost everywhere that wasnt being hunted. We saw 3 ducks in the air over the Graco Club, and nothing until we got to the Little Dry Creek Farms (Blazer) ranch on Afton, 100's&100's of ducks flying around this property.
Another partner of mine shot at Gustofsons? on the east side of Grey Lodge, thousands of bird on the ranch, never left, in 3 hours of hunting 2 men killed 7 ducks.
What I see is birds sitting and sitting until after shoot time. I dont think anyone really knows whats going on, I know it sucks, after 45 years of hunting I dont need the practice of driving to the marsh and sitting in the blind and enjoying a cup of coffee, I mean thats all good too, but not 5 times in a row. In the last 3 years my guys and I have spent 29k on 2 different blinds, hunted 70? days and about 300 ducks total for 3 years Do the math..
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby huntfishnv » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:12 am

yellowdog53 wrote:The internet hunter using the DU waterfowl migration map.. Gotta love it....


Don't know if you meant this towards me or not, but if you did all I was pointing out was that a lot of people are saying the hunting is bad. Ironically you're also on an internet duck hunting website so I don't really get it.
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby Camocynergy » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:37 pm

hntndux wrote:Those that think there low numbers of ducks, I challenge you to sit in your crappy rice blind for 45 minutes after shoot and watch the show... Last Saturday during the small storm I took a 30 mile loop through rice country at about 10am after shooting 1 duck in our blind. We saw bids sitting almost everywhere that wasnt being hunted. We saw 3 ducks in the air over the Graco Club, and nothing until we got to the Little Dry Creek Farms (Blazer) ranch on Afton, 100's&100's of ducks flying around this property.
Another partner of mine shot at Gustofsons? on the east side of Grey Lodge, thousands of bird on the ranch, never left, in 3 hours of hunting 2 men killed 7 ducks.
What I see is birds sitting and sitting until after shoot time. I dont think anyone really knows whats going on, I know it sucks, after 45 years of hunting I dont need the practice of driving to the marsh and sitting in the blind and enjoying a cup of coffee, I mean thats all good too, but not 5 times in a row. In the last 3 years my guys and I have spent 29k on 2 different blinds, hunted 70? days and about 300 ducks total for 3 years Do the math..


Basically this is the norm for the year, dealing with 90% localized ducks. People who equate bad hunting to low duck numbers are stretching reality IMO. If that was the case, the refuges should be slamming the geese all day everyday, as the closed zones at just about every refuge are packed with geese, yet relatively few get shot. The reality is we've put a lot of pressure on these birds that hang out in these areas and they are adapting. Without weather, fog, wind etc... to get them "more huntable" they are going to behave in a way that is best for their survival. We get to kill mostly the young and dumb birds, or the new arrivals that don't have the area "figured out". Having almost a whole season of stable weather hasn't helped as we haven't gotten a lot of migrating birds pushing through on a constant basis.

That being said, I think a lot of people are having a better year than they want to admit. A lot of the refuge averages are definitely better than last year. The last few weeks in the Sac valley, has been a consistant showing of pintails and wigeon for most of the day. I'm not saying it hasn't been an easy year, though, that is definitely not the case. To be successful, you have to strategize, scout hard, and really know the ins and outs of every refuge you're going to be on.
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby quigby979 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:09 pm

You mean like actually having to hunt for the birds and find the best places without just asking on the internet.....OMG!! THAT IS almost impossible to think about.
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby Sgtstadanko707 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:12 pm

quigby979 wrote:You mean like actually having to hunt for the birds and find the best places without just asking on the internet.....OMG!! THAT IS almost impossible to think about.


Well that is what you mean by scouting right.
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby Revulshawn » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:09 am

Not sure who you've been speaking to. We kill a lot of ducks around here. And there. Or wherever.
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby sprigpig1 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:31 am

We're killing em here... Don't kid yourself. I think what most guys are referring to is that this season may have been slower than previous seasons. Due to lack of weather, lack of water some guys didn't fair as well as usual. Me personally , has been an ok year with all things considered. I won't go into specifics and this is not bragging because I know a lot of guys who did better than me( not speaking competition wise just general numbers) I'm in the triple digits with ducks and geese with majority being mallards, pins, teal, widgeon, Canada geese and the occasional spoon of course.
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby PaulyQuackers » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:13 am

sprigpig1 wrote:We're killing em here... Don't kid yourself. I think what most guys are referring to is that this season may have been slower than previous seasons. Due to lack of weather, lack of water some guys didn't fair as well as usual. Me personally , has been an ok year with all things considered. I won't go into specifics and this is not bragging because I know a lot of guys who did better than me( not speaking competition wise just general numbers) I'm in the triple digits with ducks and geese with majority being mallards, pins, teal, widgeon, Canada geese and the occasional spoon of course.


It sounds like bragging to me.
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby Dukslayer26 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:34 pm

sprigpig1 wrote:We're killing em here... Don't kid yourself. I think what most guys are referring to is that this season may have been slower than previous seasons. Due to lack of weather, lack of water some guys didn't fair as well as usual. Me personally , has been an ok year with all things considered. I won't go into specifics and this is not bragging because I know a lot of guys who did better than me( not speaking competition wise just general numbers) I'm in the triple digits with ducks and geese with majority being mallards, pins, teal, widgeon, Canada geese and the occasional spoon of course.

Good job. I'm up there too with my bird count. I don't think your bragging, your just having a good season despite the poor conditions. We have one week left, lets make it count. Good luck :thumbsup:
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby Huck » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:54 pm

I have been hunting California the last eight years after a 20 year hiatus (started at fifteen). Almost every year is better than the last for me. Why that is is because I have learned to adapt my methods and work on skills to make those methods more productive. As a kid I tossed out a dozen deeks just about anywhere and waited. Some times it worked mostly it didn't (probably because it was in what is now Don Edwards NWR). Put in the work and some money and you will be rewarded.
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby killneatstuff » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:56 pm

There are huge numbers of ducks in the Sac Valley but, they are nocturnal and know where the sanctuaries are for day time, no weather to mix em up, and yellerdog 53 clients kill em all in Saskatoon before they get here!
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby sprigpig1 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:27 am

Dukslayer26 wrote:
sprigpig1 wrote:We're killing em here... Don't kid yourself. I think what most guys are referring to is that this season may have been slower than previous seasons. Due to lack of weather, lack of water some guys didn't fair as well as usual. Me personally , has been an ok year with all things considered. I won't go into specifics and this is not bragging because I know a lot of guys who did better than me( not speaking competition wise just general numbers) I'm in the triple digits with ducks and geese with majority being mallards, pins, teal, widgeon, Canada geese and the occasional spoon of course.

Good job. I'm up there too with my bird count. I don't think your bragging, your just having a good season despite the poor conditions. We have one week left, lets make it count. Good luck :thumbsup:


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Re: Hunting in California

Postby bellabitch » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:24 am

Camocynergy wrote:
hntndux wrote:
That being said, I think a lot of people are having a better year than they want to admit. A lot of the refuge averages are definitely better than last year. The last few weeks in the Sac valley, has been a consistant showing of pintails and wigeon for most of the day. I'm not saying it hasn't been an easy year, though, that is definitely not the case. To be successful, you have to strategize, scout hard, and really know the ins and outs of every refuge you're going to be on.


As was said above, you should check the numbers at the refuges. I hunted Gray Lodge over Christmas vacation and I have never seen so many ducks and I have hunted there for about thirty years. There were flocks of 50 sprig and or wigeon coming into this big pond at a time - literally dropping 2-300 feet to get down into it- It was crazy. If the two guys who were sky scraping over their flapper duck would have let the birds come down another 20 yards they could have saved themselves about 75 rounds of ammo. There are birds all over the Sacramento Valley - more than I have seen in years. Problem is as soon as first light comes - actually 10-20 minutes before that when the first shots are touched off - the birds get up and fly to somewhere safe. That being said, if you know what you are doing and where you are going - on a public refuge - you can get some quality ducks and have a good hunt. I would say that this year is just as good - maybe better than years past - the end tally of birds at the refuges will tell the story. Also - as said above - those guys with the rice blinds that go home by 9am feeling sorry for themselves should stick around for the afternoon - there are a lot of quackers using their rice checks. Good luck! Let 'em work. :thumbsup:
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby Mean Gene » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:06 am

Duck hunting in California this year has only been bad for those who are unable, or unwilling, to use all the tools at their disposal, and/or think outside the box. You need to have options, and that often entails you doing something other than what you're already doing. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Re: Hunting in California

Postby slowshooter » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:34 pm

True, changing methods will help. But then when everyone adapts we'll all be in the same metaphorical or actual boat.

If you look at the migration maps put out by organizations other than DU you'll see the issue.

While the flyways remain the same in terms of path, the problem is that the migration distances are being compressed. It's evident with species other than ducks; some birds aren't traveling down as far as they used to because the climate is more temperate and isn't pushing them out. This is causing problems with some other species because as their range shrinks they are aren't adapted to finding suitable forage north of their traditional wintering areas.

IMO over the long term, we're just looking at having more extremes from hot to cold cycles. Some years will be good and others will be as tough if not tougher than this year. If we get a lot of methane gassing from what's stored under the ocean then we'll see a more permanent change.

Regardless of what happens, none of us are likely to stop hunting.

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Re: Hunting in California

Postby PaulyQuackers » Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:27 pm

Go to Mendota, park in lot 12, walk as close to the refuge as you can get, set up your spinning wing decoy just behind the levy, because there isn't any water in the area right in front of the refuge to float decoys, then shoot at every duck that passes over to look at your Mojo Duck. I've seen people shoot quite a few ducks in that spot, but I doubt they give a rip what anyone thinks of them, because this isn't duck hunting, and one of the many reasons this place has piss poor hunting, unless you set up in the few sweet spots, where all the regulars rush to be the first one there.

Or, you could just walk around by parking lot 19 and shoot at every dang thing that flies, while everyone else it trying to hunt in their spot. I see people doing this too at Mendota, which pretty much ruins it for everyone else. It's no wonder that you need to have a bad storm for hunting to be any good at that place. There are a ton of ducks in California that you never get to see, because the moment they leave a refuge, they get shot at by all the locals who know just where the ducks are coming out at. According to Ducks Unlimited, there was a slight decrease do to drought, but there are still more ducks in California, than in any of the previous decades, yet duck hunting is still dismal at best. Having more water and more birds to skybust at, isn't going to improve duck hunting around the refuges one iota, and if you don't have the money, don't even think about ever hunting private land.
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